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The Dean's Newsletter

News from the WiSo faculty

Dear WiSo professors, WiSo employees and student representatives,

Summer has arrived and the university summer term is coming to an end. An ideal time for the first WiSo summer party! I would be pleased to welcome you to a social gathering on Thursday, 27 June, at 5 pm in the courtyards of the WiSo faculty. There will be a barbecue and drinks to which the faculty would like to invite you.
On 27 June at 5 pm something else will happen. We will start the WiSo Slogan Contest. Together with all members of the WiSo Faculty I would like to find a contemporary slogan that concisely describes the WiSo Faculty. You can then submit your suggestions here -> . I assure you that every suggestion will be considered! More details can be found below in the newsletter.

Many greetings,

Ulrich Thonemann



News from the faculty meeting

In the last faculty meeting, a cooperation agreement with the Max Planck Research School was discussed, some minor amendments to the examination regulations for the joint study programmes were adopted and new members were elected for the examination board for information systems.

In the meeting, the students also presented some suggestions for improvements in teaching at the WiSo faculty. One wish of the students is to create incentives for continuous learning, so that students do not focus their learning only on a written examination at the end of each semester. They would like to choose from a greater variety of exams such as essays, self-study tasks and opportunities to earn bonus points during the semester. This should increase the students‘ motivation and interaction. If necessary, intermediate examinations could also contribute to more continuous learning. Other goals are the general increase of interactivity in teaching and the digitisation of teaching, e.g. by using survey tools in courses. The discussion of the proposals in the faculty meeting has shown that many of the proposals find broad support and the Dean has assured that the proposals will be taken into account in the preparation of the faculty development plan.

Publications of Minutes of Faculty Meetings

All minutes of the faculty meetings and other important information from the faculty sessions, such as changes to the examination regulations, are accessible and available to all faculty members on the Public WiSo drive. In Windows Explorer, you can find the files on your PC using the following link: P:\wiso-dekanat\Gremien\




Your Invitation to the WiSo Summer Party

Reminder: WiSo Summer Party

When: Thursday, 27 June 2019 - 5 pm

Where: Courtyards of the WiSo faculty

Dear professors, scientific staff, employees of the WiSo Service Centre and other organisational units,

I cordially invite you to our first summer party of the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences in the WiSo courtyards on Thursday, 27 June 2019 from 5pm.

As I am keen to improve communication within the faculty, I hope that many of you can find the time to meet in the WiSo courtyards from 5pm.
The faculty invites you to an informal get-together at the end of the summer term – with Kölsch, soft drinks and a BBQ. Vegetarian options will also be available.

Registration is not necessary.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our event manager, Ms Andrea Leon Diaz at

Best regards,
Prof Ulrich Thonemann, PhD



WiSo Slogan Contest

The WiSo faculty is refreshing its mission and vision. We would like to take this opportunity to update our long-standing faculty slogan "Innovation for society". Any member of WiSo is welcome to participate.


To choose a slogan, we have created an open and transparent innovation process: 

The WiSo Slogan Contest

Our aim is to find a concise and modern slogan that any member of WiSo can identify with.

A slogan that communicates what WiSo is all about, to ourselves and to the whole world. A slogan that states who we are, what we do and what makes us different.


How does the WiSo Slogan Contest work?


  1. The WiSo Slogan Contest starts on June 27th. Starting on this date, you can make your own suggestions for a slogan via an online tool. The contest will be open for submissions until July 15th!  (link below)
  2. After the submission phase, you will have another opportunity to participate by rating the quality of the slogans submitted by other people. 
  3. The ratings will be evaluated by a diverse team of experts representing every stakeholder group at WiSo. Together, they will identify the top ideas and create a shortlist of the best submitted slogans.
  4. The shortlisted slogans will then enter the final round. In another public round of voting, you will be able to vote for your personal favorite from the shortlist. The final vote is scheduled for September.


Please further information as well as the online tool for submitting ideas:



We are curious to see what you will come up with!



Review: opening of the extension building and the WiSo Student Service Point

On 22 May 2019, another important building for the University of Cologne was opened: the new Campus North of the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences. The varied programme for the ceremonial inauguration included speeches and contributions from Cologne Mayor Elfie Scho-Antwerpes, the University Rector Prof Dr Dr h.c. Axel Freimuth, the Head of the Department of Building and Property Management Markus Gerhards as well as the Dean of the Faculty Prof Ulrich Thonemann.

In terms of design, the new building is based on a building designed by the architect Wilhelm Riphahn. Due to its proximity to the listed WiSo building, an architectural competition was held. The new building is based on the plans of the first prize-winner, the architectural office Kister-Scheithauer-Groß (KSG).

The creation of new seminar rooms, chair facilities, student service points, meeting rooms and technical and storage rooms will ensure the various organisational units are efficiently connected, as well as improve exchange between teaching and research.

Dean Prof Ulrich Thonemann commented: “With the opening of the new building next to the high-rise building of the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, we have taken a big step towards our goal of being able to offer the various research, teaching and administrative facilities of the faculty in a more central location. This makes exchange between researchers, students and administrative staff much more efficient and has an even more positive effect on the working atmosphere.”



Another new opening could also be celebrated: the WiSo Student Service Point. An open day was held in the WiSo extension building on 28 May 2019 to present the new services. The employees of the WiSo Student Service Point welcomed numerous visitors and were happy to answer any questions about the new facility. The new WiSo Student Service Point now answers all students' questions about their studies. The following services are offered:

•    Application, admission and first semester consultations
•    Study organisation
•    KLIPS
•    Examination matters
•    International orientation for degree courses
•    Career options and internships
•    Credit transfers for exams taken
•    Consultations for those interested in doctoral studies
•    Reorienting or dropping out of studies
•    Certificates and sealed transcripts of records
•    Information material, such as flyers, maps and much more


The WiSo Student Service Point is therefore the central point of contact for WiSo students and prospective students. More information can be found here. We would also like to welcome our new colleague Inken Jost! She supports the WiSo Student Service Point in the areas of organisation and reception.



ISS series: “Did you know…?”

In the series “Did you know...?”, scientists of the Institute for Sociology and Social Psychology (ISS) regularly report on current research findings.


Prof Dr Karsten Hank, who regularly publishes articles for the series, underlines the mission to inspire the general public for sociological topics:

“Social scientists often have the experience that their findings are perceived by the public either as trivial (‘We already know that anyway.’) or as implausible (‘In my circle of acquaintances, it’s quite different.’). With the series ‘Did you know...?’, the ISS has been regularly presenting the current research results of its professorships since 2015, which perhaps were not yet known to the public and which are intended to raise curiosity about the wide range of social science questions dealt with at the WiSo faculty.

The articles in the column are based on studies published in international journals. It turns out that it is not always easy to prepare topics that are regarded as relevant by the professional public in such a way that they become interesting for a broader audience. But did you know that most of the time it works, and sometimes even gives the scientists a new perspective on their own work?”

Among other topics, ISS researchers Prof Dr Marita Jacob, Prof Dr Karsten Hank and Prof Dr Philipp Lersch (HU Berlin) dealt with the connection between the unemployment rate at the time of graduation and health.

Did you know that a high unemployment rate when finishing education may worsen your health in the long run?

The most recent economic crisis of 2007/2008 hit young adults particularly hard, resulting in severe labour market uncertainties and high unemployment rates in many countries. This has raised concerns of persisting disadvantages for a “lost generation”. Moreover, there is the concern that young people are vulnerable to high-unemployment environments when transitioning from education into employment and may suffer negative long-term consequences of economic adversity on their health.

ISS researchers Philipp Lersch, Marita Jacob and Karsten Hank examined whether this concern is warranted in a study published recently. For their analysis, they used data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), which interviews the same individuals repeatedly over the course of many years. The authors examined how regional variations in state-level unemployment rates when individuals left education between 1992 and 2015 in West Germany related to individuals’ self-assessed health later on through to the age of 49.

Firstly, the authors found that young adults leaving education in federal states with high unemployment rates initially have better health compared to those who leave education in states with low unemployment. This counterintuitive result has been repeatedly found by researchers for other countries. One explanation is that economic downturns may lead to less traffic accidents, less pollution and less work stress. Secondly, the authors found that an individual’s unemployment when leaving education is associated with initially poorer health, regardless of the state-level unemployment rate. This health disadvantage persists as individuals age. Thirdly, those who were unemployed in a high-unemployment context when leaving education are particularly disadvantaged. Their health declines more over time compared to those from low-unemployment contexts.

Thus, when combined with unemployment for themselves, young people who finish education and experience high unemployment in their environment similar to the recent economic crisis are likely to suffer from worse health in the long run.

More information about the series “Did you know…?” can be found here.




Interview with the Appointment and Gender Representative, Prof Dr Matthias Heinz

The joint initiative of the University of Bonn and the University of Cologne was launched recently and is currently being developed further. The research areas of the cluster are contributed by professors from the University of Bonn and professors mainly from our faculty:

•    Financial Stability, Prof Dr Andreas Schabert
•    Political Economy, Prof Dr Sven-Oliver Proksch
•    Market Design, Prof Dr Axel Ockenfels
•    Organisational Design, Prof Dr Dirk Sliwka
•    Markets and Values, Prof Dr Bernd Irlenbusch
•    Consumer Protection, Prof Dr Johannes Münster
•    Theoretical Foundations, Prof Dr Felix Bierbrauer



The issue of gender equality also plays an important role in this institution, particularly at the administrative and organisational level. In addition to his research contributions to the cluster, Prof Dr Matthias Heinz has taken on the gender measures at ECONtribute. In the following, he talks about his specific tasks and functions:

One of your functions in the Cluster of Excellence is to conceptualise and implement gender measures. What are your actual tasks in this regard?

Our aim in the Cluster of Excellence is to promote equal opportunities – especially for young female researchers. There are a number of measures in the Cluster of Excellence to promote young female researchers for which I am responsible, and I implement these measures together with my colleagues. For example, we offer mentoring programmes, provide support in the search for day-care places, hold networking workshops (such as at the EEA) and organise events on the subject of diversity at the University of Cologne. As part of this work, a major new study on the proportion of women in economics at different career levels in various regions will be presented on the German Diversity Day on 28 May at the University of Cologne.

What role do the issues of gender and diversity play at ECONtribute?

For us, gender and diversity are two of THE big issues – as can be seen from the fact that we have invested countless hours in recent months in implementing measures to promote equal opportunities. In particular, we have been very active in the appointment and establishment of a network of female junior researchers.

Regarding the topic of appointments and the network of young female researchers, what exactly are you doing here?

We have many good researchers in the Cluster of Excellence, but we also have research areas in which we still have potential and would like to improve further. We are therefore very pleased to be able to fill a number of new professorships in the cluster in Cologne and Bonn. When filling the professorships, we pay particular attention to ensuring that we can recruit excellent young female researchers. And we are breaking new ground here.

Among other things, we have advertised research professorships in the Cluster of Excellence W1/2. Before the announcement began, we targeted dozens of junior German female researchers who completed their dissertations about 2-5 years ago and currently hold temporary positions at foreign universities. We then invited the junior female researchers to our internal research seminars. We used the seminar presentations to get to know the researchers better, and our colleagues were also able to get a picture of us. Finally, many of the female researchers also applied for the cluster professorships. The appointment processes are still ongoing, but we are optimistic that we will soon be able to achieve some success in this area.

Although some of the junior female researchers with whom we have been in contact did not apply, they told us that they would be very interested in joining the Cluster of Excellence in the medium or long term. We are currently setting up a new visitor programme for these junior female researchers. The core idea is that the researchers can come to the University of Cologne every year for a few weeks and offer a PhD course. This not only enables us to offer additional interesting courses in the PhD programme, offered by junior female scientists, but also enables us to maintain and further expand contact with these female researchers. We seem to have hit the mark with the visitor programme in particular, as we have dozens of interested women.

What special features or challenges are you currently facing in this context?

One challenge is that, at the universities in Cologne and Bonn, we sometimes have different processes (such as appointment procedures and visitor programmes), which we have to harmonise to some extent in the cluster. What’s more, establishing the Cluster of Excellence requires a great deal of time. But I think we are on a very good path here, which is, among other things, due to the fact that we were able to gain Carola Braun as an excellent Managing Director for the Cluster of Excellence.

Mr Heinz, thank you very much for the interview.